Shane Hale’s Mixed Martial Arts debut on the August Battle Arena card at Nene Park will see him go from fan to fighter as the culmination of eight months training.
The Wellingborough scaffolder trained as a boxer in his youth, but his first fight getting cancelled due to needing a foot operation, and then the club closing down, saw him lose interest.
Hale admits that he lost his way a bit after that, but when a work friend told him about a new MMA club opening up in the town he decided to try it out and has not looked back since.
Having watched the sport on TV and played the computer games, he will soon be the one stepping into the ring and he cannot wait for August 18,
“I dream about it every day on the way to work, just looking out the window of the motor,” said Hale. “Then I get days when I’m really nervous and feel down, but then I come to the gym and it puts my spirits back up. I’m just looking forward to it.
“I used to do a bit of boxing when I was 16 and I’ve always loved that sort of sport because there is so much discipline.
“It’s a much better life because before I was getting into trouble and drinking, but since I started this at Christmas I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol. It’s a totally different life.”
Hale and several of his club-mates from The MMA Gym – one of two clubs in Wellingborough along with Shudan MMA – will be in action on the bill in Irthlingborough. He is due to face Chris Kelly, of Chertsey club Mayhem MMA, when he makes his bow.
“I’m nervous, but I’ve put a lot of hard work in and I’ve been taught by some great trainers. I’ve been taught by the best so I’m confident.
"I’d like to get a belt or two in the 65kg weight division and then move up to 70kg and see what I can do in there. I just want to go as far as I possibly can.
“I had a couple of injuries, but it just spurs me on to train harder, look after my body more and eat healthily.”
The card will also feature two British title fights, although they are both currently being re-arranged as contenders Bobby Gaze (93kg) and Steve Strickland (71kg) were forced to pull out due to injury.